Label: Earthman Music - EMLP 012 • Format: Vinyl LP, Compilation • Country: US • Genre: Reggae • Style: Roots Reggae
One of the most exciting young talents to arise out of the '80s dancehall scene, Garnett Silk began his career as a child toaster, but ended it as one of Jamaica's most astonishing singers; with a rich and emotive voice, he took the nation by storm. He seemed destined for international stardom, when his career was cut cruelly short by his death in Encouraged by family and friends, Silk first took the stage at the Soul Remembrance sound system at the tender age of 12, under the moniker Little Bimbo.
The tiny toaster so impressed the audience that he swiftly began DJ'ing regularly, first at Soul Remembrance, and then as the decade turned, at Pepper's Disco, Stereophonic, and then Destiny Outernational. It was at this latter sound system where the teen first met Tony Rebelanother Manchester native. Rebel was making a name for himself as a cultural toaster and went on to become a major influence on the dancehall scene, and on Little Bimbo himself.
The DJ was still in his teens when he cut his first song, 's "Ram Dance Master"; he may have recorded others, but none have yet surfaced. It was another two years before Little Bimbo's debut single, "Problems Everywhere," appeared.
Cut with producer Delroy Tabidaichi (Departure) - Kiki Hitomi - Karma No Kusari, the posthumous Journey album features not just the single, but an album's worth of material recorded by the two at this time. The pair began performing as a duo around the sound systems to much acclaim. The Garnett Silk Meets the Conquering Lion: A Dub Plate Selection album dates from about this time and features a clutch of exclusive recordings the DJ cut for the sound system from the mid-'80s through the end of the decade.
Rebela Rastarfari, eventually converted Little Bimbo to his religion with the help of dub poet Yasus Afaria close friend of both the DJs. If Rebel had a massive impact on Silk's religious beliefs and toasting themes, Derrick Morgan would have an equal impact on his career.
Inthe veteran singing star and producer brought Rebel and Little Bimbo into Bunny Lee 's studio in Dunhaney Park to record the two both individually and as a duo. Morgan had one listen and sat Little Bimbo down and gave him some fatherly advice -- stop toasting and start All You Need - Seedless - The Orange Album. Several of the tracks are pure toasts, others are somewhere in between, but when Little Bimbo sang, even though his delivery still has the clipped tones of dancehall, he was magnificent.
He inked a contract with the production team and recorded an album's worth of songs for them. However, only one, "We Can Be Together," a duet with Chevelle Franklinwas actually released, at least in the singer's lifetime. Discouraged, he returned to Manchester and threw himself into songwriting, often in partnership with an old friend, Anthony "Fire" Rochester. The intervening period wasn't a total waste as he now had a sheaf of new songs and a new name.
Silk would record a plethora of seminal songs at the producer's Ocho Rios studio, amongst them were the hits "Mama," "Seven Spanish Angels," and a phenomenal cover of the Johnny Nash classic "I Can See Clearly Now," the biggest smash of the group.
Roof International would posthumously bundle up these early singles and other material recorded at this time for the Nothing Can Divide Us album, which the VP label picked up for the U. Split between deeply cultural themes, spiritual songs, and Oh Me numbers, the album went on to become one of the best selling in Jamaica that year. Over the next two years, the singer would record with most of the major name producers on the island, both on his own and in partnership with Tony Rebel.
Gold, released by the U. Charm label inbundled up more hits from this period. Amongst them was the inspirational "Zion in a Vision," a Jamaican number one cut with producer Jack Scorpio, as well as Silk's first international hit, Oh Me Mama Africa" produced by Richard "Bello" Bell for the Star Trail label, which topped the reggae chart in Britain. The exhausted singer was forced to cancel all his scheduled appearances for the next Part I (Conclusion) - Schoenberg* / János Ferencsik, Danish State Radio Symphony* & Concert Orchestr months, most crucially of all, Reggae Sumfest.
However, Silk bounced back in and set back to work. By then, the singer was ready to re-take the stage, which he did with a vengeance at that year's Reggae Sumfest and Reggae Sunsplash festivals. His phenomenal set at the latter event was captured for the Live at Reggae Sunsplashreleased in by the Tabou1 label.
Having inked an international distribution deal with Atlantic Records, Silk now entered Tuff Gong studios with producer Errol Brown and the cream of Jamaica's sessionmen to begin work on his second album.
He'd recorded ten songs and the album was nearing completion when he went home to visit his mother. Silk had borrowed a pair of guns from his attorney after Oh My - Garnett Silk Meets The Conquering Lion - A Dubplate Selection (Part 2) home had been burgled, but had no idea how to use them. Sitting with a couple of friends at his mother's on December 9, one offered to show him how they worked, at which point the gun accidentally misfired, hitting a propane tank and setting the house ablaze.
The singer, his friends, and his two brothers made it out safely, only to discover that Silk's mother was still Oh Me inside. The singer rushed back into the house to save her, but it was too late and both were lost in the fire. InAtlantic finally released The Definitive Collection, a two-CD set showcasing the ten tracks the singer had recorded during sessions for his unfinished second album. These songs quell any doubts about the Oh Me future: international stardom awaited.
However, there is no use mourning what might have been, nor in mourning what the world has lost. The world is left with Silk's rich legacy of songs, and his influence remains as strong now as when he was alive. Listen to Garnett Silk now. To play this content, you'll need the Spotify app. Get Spotify Open Spotify. You look like someone who appreciates good music. Listen to all your favourite artists on any device for free or try the Premium trial. Play on Spotify.
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